With smartphones and mobile devices now utilizing biometrics as a trusted form of identification, consumers have embraced this once-futuristic technology as a primary way of securing their devices and personal data. They’re also eager for biometrics to transform their banking and purchasing activities: According to a late 2017 study by Visa, 86 percent of consumers have interest in making secure payments using biometrics.

This consumer readiness is driving the rapid adoption of biometrics in retail and other industries. MarketsandMarkets predicts biometrics will be a $41.8 billion industry by 2023, and will play a prominent role in shaping the future of banking at retail branches. Despite the popularity of using mobile banking apps for everyday banking activities, there remain a number of situations where bank customers prefer to visit a physical bank branch. The use of biometrics-enabled solutions can help banks combine the best practices of the digital and brick-and-mortar worlds.

Here’s a look at how financial institutions can leverage biometrics to improve their branch banking experience.

Embracing multiple forms of biometric ID

Today’s financial institutions have access to several forms of biometric identification via customers’ mobile devices. Fingerprint biometrics are the most common identification format, but they’re insufficient for higher-risk activities. Facial recognition is more suitable for many banking activities, because it provides “liveness detection,” which prevents biometric spoofing.

Many smartphones are limited to thumbprint recognition, but the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Note9 offer both iris scanning and facial recognition. Iris scanners use infrared cameras to scan a customer’s eye, identifying their unique biomarkers to validate their identity quickly and reliably. Facial recognition maps each face and identifies it by factors such as distance between chin and forehead or between the eyes.

The business incentive for banking biometrics

Today’s consumers gravitate toward frictionless retail experiences, and banks are no exception. To remain competitive and keep customers happy, financial institutions recognize the importance of a streamlined, tech-enabled user experience. A global survey by PwC identified enhanced customer service as the top investment priority for banks, with a long-term focus on creating a seamless customer experience across digital channels and in bank branches.

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Biometric solutions support this business strategy by expediting the ID verification process. With biometric ID services in place, consumers don’t have to worry about forgotten passwords or PIN numbers, which means fewer calls to customer support and an easier overall customer experience. Visa’s report noted that 70 percent of consumers consider biometrics to be easier than remembering their passwords, and 61 percent believe it is a faster method of ID verification.

But easier customer service only matters if you’re able to maintain the same standard of security. Fortunately, biometrics can provide enhanced security that surpasses the protection offered by traditional forms of identification. This is especially true for facial recognition, which provides liveness detection not delivered by fingerprint or iris scanning. Even in cases where an individual may know some of your banking and personal information, the right biometric security features can keep accounts beyond reach of would-be thieves. That means banks are able to improve the customer experience while combating fraud and theft.

Where biometrics can be used in retail banking

For the physical bank branch, biometrics can transform many points of the customer experience. Banks will not store biometric information themselves, but rather will leverage the biometrics capabilities on customers’ mobile devices.

Here are a few of the potential uses.

  • Biometric IDs can be used in out-of-band authentication, where the bank identifies the customer through two channels simultaneously for extra security.
  • Using a mobile device at a sign-in kiosk, users can replace passwords with a simple tap or use biometrics to immediately validate identities for faster service.
  • Facial recognition on mobile devices can protect sensitive financial information, such as loan term sheets and bank account statements, by blurring private content and only making it readable when the device recognizes the face of an authorized user.

While biometric identification can increase quick access to fast, secure self-help options, bank branch staff are always available if assistance is needed. As a leader in biometric security and retail technologies with its Nexsign authentication solution, Samsung offers multiple biometric ID options to banks that seek to bring the future of banking to their retail branch experience.

Mobile banking apps are a cornerstone of the modern banking experience, but physical branches are still essential to offering comprehensive banking services. To survive the current wave of mobile disruption, banking leaders should focus to updating the traditional branch experience with retail solutions that support faster service, secure banking and a better customer experience.

Read the Celent report on the when, how and why of creating personalized customer experiences in the bank branch. Or, learn exactly what consumers are looking for when they arrive to the bank branch — and how mobile-equipped associates can help.

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Jonathan Crowl

Jonathan Crowl specializes in content creation for both B2B and B2C brands, with an emphasis on enterprise technology and mobility. His past and current clients LinkedIn, Mad Mobile, Oktopost, BrightSpot and Waze, as well as B2C brands Porsche, Epson and PayPal. He lives in Minneapolis.

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